Tyrese Maxey's rookie season in the NBA was anything but typical. Following his freshman season at the University of Kentucky, the young guard declared for the draft and started preparing for the NBA amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the pandemic shutting down the NBA and forcing teams into a bubble months after the league should've concluded, Maxey didn't get a proper summer of preparation with his next team.
Eventually, he ended up on the Sixers, but Summer League wasn't a thing, and workouts and training camp were cut shorter than usual. The scheduling of everything wasn't the only odd structure during the 2020-2021 season.
In addition to a shortened season, the Sixers fulfilled their media obligations virtually through Zoom the entire year. Therefore, players like Tyrese Maxey, Paul Reed, and Isaiah Joe didn't meet the people covering them face to face for an entire season.
But for the first time in their young careers, they actually faced the media beyond a Zoom screen during 76ers media day on Monday. Maxey, who's participated in many Zoom sessions throughout his rookie season, couldn't believe how surreal it felt to have some sense of normalcy during his first media availability of the new season.
After receiving a question from Liberty Ballers reporter Paul Hudrick, Maxey apologized for not understanding the question right away, resulting from him being "in awe" of seeing Hudrick in person for the first time.
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Paul," Maxey said. "I'm just in awe that this is my first time seeing you in person. I've seen you on the video so many times. I'm sitting here thinking, 'I've seen this man so many times, and this is my first time seeing him in person.' This is amazing. Alright, now let's do that again; I'm sorry."
As expected, Maxey's exchange with the reporter went viral on Twitter as the young guard has built up such a solid following from Philly fans in year one. Perhaps, he'll grow even more popular throughout his Sophomore effort now that he'll have more natural exchanges with the local media.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.